In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ. (Eph. 1:4–5)

MANY PEOPLE ARE CONFUSED about predestination. Does it mean that God has already decided in advance whether we will go to heaven or hell? If so, why should we even try to do the right thing, since He has determined our fate? If we can’t influence the outcome, we might as well do as we please and not worry about the consequences.

Actually, Paul taught us that predestination is a wonderful thing, rightly understood. In Ephesians 1:4–5, he said something very specific about our predestination. God has decided in advance that when we receive Christ, He will adopt us into His family. In the previous verse, he made it clear that God chose us “to be holy and blameless in his sight” (v. 4).

Think of it this way: if I invite you to my home for a roast beef dinner, you are free to accept the invitation or refuse it. But if you accept, you will not be free to choose ham or chicken, even though you might prefer it, because only roast beef is on the menu.

When you receive Christ, what’s on the menu is a holy life, a close walk with Him, and your loving adoption into His family. He has wonderful things in store for you and me. But on our part, no more fraternizing with the Enemy. That’s not on the menu!

Rejoice in the knowledge that God has invited you to be part of His family.

Ron McClung lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his wife Carol, and works for The Wesleyan Church. They have two sons, nine grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters.